Senior US military officials announced new aid to Ukraine, under the flag of a country that does not exist
As US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley met with allies on Monday to prepare for new arms deliveries to kyiv, they were seated in front of four Ukrainian flags at upside down. The snafu wasn’t the first time top politicians in Washington have gotten the country they’re funding wrong.
Austin and Milley hosted a virtual meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group, a panel of 47 countries willing to provide kyiv with weapons and other military aid. As Austin described US efforts to secure “Artillery systems and ammunition, coastal defense systems, tanks and other essential armored vehicles” for Kyiv, observers quickly noticed that something was wrong.
Behind Austin and Milley, four Ukrainian flags had been hung upside down, with yellow on top instead of blue.
Likely the work of a Pentagon staffer, the gaffe was not the first time supporters of Ukraine have missed the display of its distinctive flag. In March, the AFL-CIO – the largest union in the United States – tweeted a photo of its executive council holding upside-down Ukrainian flag posters that read “Stand with Ukraine. After some mockery online, the union reposted the image with the flags digitally altered to face the correct way, before removing it entirely when Twitter users commented on poor photoshop work.
the @AFLCIO has now deleted his photoshopped “standing with Ukraine” photo. Join me on a journey. 5:00 p.m. – post a photo with “Stand with Ukraine” posters Get dragged for upside-down Ukrainian flags 10:00 p.m. – post a new image with photoshopped signs (badly) 9:30 a.m. delete pic.twitter.com/8D7B6hPN4R
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) March 16, 2022
American leaders past and present have also completely confused Ukraine with other countries. In a March speech condemning the Russian offensive against Ukraine, President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladmir Putin “may surround kyiv with tanks, but it will never win the hearts and souls of the Iranian people.”
More recently, former President George W. Bush condemned “the totally unwarranted and brutal invasion of Iraq – I mean Ukraine”, an error that referred to his own invasion of Iraq in 2003.
George W. Bush condemns “the unwarranted invasion of Iraq”
After Monday’s meeting, Austin announced that Denmark would provide anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, Czechia would send attack helicopters and Italy, Greece, Norway and Poland would donate systems. artillery and ammunition. The United States has provided nearly $4 billion in military aid to Ukraine since February and is expected to spend an additional $40 billion in military and economic aid to Kyiv, more than six times Ukraine’s annual defense budget. Ukraine.
The Kremlin has accused the United States and its allies of carrying out a “the war by proxy” against Russia through these arms shipments, as well as through training and intelligence sharing with Ukrainian forces.
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